Morning Briefing: Helping the Black community COVID-19 vaccine fear-free; Ruling means police can’t search cars as easily; Hart upset after latest Flyers loss

Good Morning. Here are some of the top stories from around the region.

WEATHER

If you like the bitter cold, this is the Sunday for you. We are staring out in the teens this morning and will reach a high of 36 degrees.

CLICK HERE to check your local forecast.

NEWS

‘Facts Not Fear: COVID-19 Vaccines and the Black Community’ fosters deeper discussion in Montgomery County

More than 450 people joined a panel of physicians, faith leaders and elected officials online Thursday evening to discuss “Facts Not Fear: COVID-19 Vaccines and the Black Community.” Roughly 665 people registered, and about 450 tuned in for the discussion, which centered on answering questions from area residents concerning disparities and inequities for African Americans experiencing effects of the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. “I don’t think this conversation is about the elimination of fear. I think that would be unfair to people, particularly African Americans who have been Black their entire time in America,” said Rev. Marshall Mitchell, a pastor at Salem Baptist Church in Abington. “How could you not be fearful? How could you not be wary?”

Delco urges patience in waiting for COVID-19 vaccines

Delaware County is poised to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine with allotted locations, personnel and equipment. The only thing they’re missing, like everywhere else in the country, is the supply. “We are prepared for the vaccine, we are just waiting for it,” Rosemarie Halt, the director of Delaware County’s COVID Task Force, said. As of Saturday, 3,406 Delaware County residents had received both needed shots for the vaccine and 17,923 had received the first dose, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. There are approximately 560,000 people living in Delaware County. County officials reported receiving 1,200 doses of vaccine last week and anticipate receiving 2,000 more this week.

Vehicle searches just got tougher for Pennsylvania police

A dark night in rural Chester County. A lonely stretch of road. A speeding, weaving automobile is spotted by a police officer on patrol, who begins a pursuit. When the driver rolls down his window after pulling over, the officer detects the unmistakable odor of burnt marijuana coming from the passenger compartment. Suspecting that there may be more weed in the car because the driver admits to smoking the drug, the officer orders the driver out of the car, puts him in the back of his patrol cruiser, and quickly begins to search the car. That was then; it is no longer now. Because of a recent ruling by the state Supreme Court, police officers across the Commonwealth will no longer be legally permitted to conduct such heretofore routine searches unless they have a search warrant signed by a judge, except in emergency circumstances.

Report details COVID-19 ‘devastation’ at Southeastern Veterans’ Center

The “devastation” of the COVID-19 outbreak at the Southeastern Veterans’ Center that killed 42 residents and sickened many others was due to mismanagement, poor planning and improper use of experimental medication, according to a recent report. It was not until late May 2020, months after COVID-19 began to spread, when a new management team was brought in and the viral spread began to be contained. “By then it was too late,” according to the special investigation for the office of the governor, which was conducted by attorneys from the Philadelphia-based law firm of Morgan, Lewis and Bockius LLP. and most recently revised on Dec. 29, 2020.

Optimist Club sponsoring valentines for Meals On Wheels clients

Valentine’s Day isn’t limited to romantic sentiments. Members of the Lower Providence Optimist Club know that the occasion is ideal for spreading good will and affection to family, friends and especially homebound seniors who could use a little heart-shaped cheerfulness during the pandemic. The club put the call out on its Facebook page asking children ages five through 15 to participate “and bring smiles to our beloved senior citizens. Our goal is to deliver cards made from the youth in the community to the 150 participants of the Meals on Wheels Program. This means we need 150 Valentines by Sunday, January 31st, 2021. Each child can make or send as many cards as they’d like. Create a valentine and send it to Lorin@lpoptimistclub.com. We will print and make sure the cards get delivered to the seniors in the program in time for Valentine’s Day.”

SPORTS

Flyers Notebook: Riddled Hart vents frustration after bad loss

Carter Hart was beaten as badly Saturday night as he’d been beaten ever since assuming the reins as the Flyers’ No. 1 goalie. This time, Alain Vigneault let him absorb the full blow … and get a little practice in on his backhand, too. Hart had to face the Boston Bruins without adequate protection from his teammates, especially those charged with killing penalties. As it happened, he also had to face himself after playing just as poorly as everybody else on his side in a 6-1 Bruins win at TD Garden.

Embiid hits late free throws, 76ers beat Pistons 114-110

Joel Embiid had 33 points and 14 rebounds, and his two free throws with 7.2 seconds left helped the Philadelphia 76ers seal a 114-110 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night. Ben Simmons added 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the 76ers, and he made a couple big free throws of his own in the final minute. Philadelphia is atop the Eastern Conference but didn’t push its lead over the last-place Pistons into double figures until early in the fourth quarter. That was when Dwight Howard’s dunk put the 76ers up 99-88.

Villanova Notebook: Gillespie’s 3-pointer at intermission buzzer a comeback key

It wasn’t quite Ryan Arcidiacono to Kris Jenkins for the national championship, but the play Justin Moore and Collin Gillespie teamed up on at the end of the first half Saturday helped turn the tide in Villanova’s favor. The Wildcats cut an eight-point deficit to three, only to have Brandon Slater foul Alyn Breed of Providence in the act of shooting a 3-pointer with four seconds left. Breed, of course, hit all three free throws to push the spread back to six.

ENTERTAINMENT

Upper Darby alum writes and stars in film about single life

After graduating from Temple University, actress and filmmaker Hanh Nguyen, a 2007 graduate of Upper Darby High School, had her fair share of failed relationships, and emotional ups and downs, living as a single woman in New York City during her younger adult years. Nguyen, who recently joined the core unit on the current season of NBC’s “This Is Us,” turned those early adulthood days into a film, “Hanh, Solo,” which she wrote and also stars as the main character, along with Anthony Martinez-Briggs and Karl Stafford. The 90-minute indie, low-budget comedy film, released in 2017 by the Pennsylvania People for streaming, came out on DVD last week.